I quit blogging almost two years ago. I’m not sure why.
Lack of time? I’m sure that played a part. I moved, started a new job, bought a house, accepted a second, part time job. It’s true that I don’t have a lot of time to spare. But I’ve never had a lot of time to spare and I used to blog almost daily. So that can’t be the whole reason.
Changes in the world of blogging? Everybody, their brother, and their dog seem to have blogs now. And most of them are EXPERTS who can tell you how to ___ (reach your ideal weight, write a bestseller in four days, quit your day job and become a millionaire) – all in ten easy steps! (Or seven. Or three.) You can learn these easy steps by enrolling in their online course for a mere $299 for five sessions. For $150 more you can get a 3 minute one-on-one phone consultation with them. This doesn’t work for me because (a) I’m not an expert at much of anything, (b) I wasn’t born yesterday, and (c) I’m not going to spend money on “expert” advice that sounds identical to the lead articles in the magazines that crowd the checkout line in grocery stores that are approximately $296 cheaper. Nor do I want to sell “expert” advice for a ridiculous price. There are still some good writers out there who are putting up good work without hawking “expert” advice, so this can’t be the whole reason either.
Social media? That must be it. Next to money (or maybe surpassing it, at least on Twitter lately), social media has become the root of all evil, right? It’s true that it’s easier to post a photo on Instagram with a short caption and a few carefully chosen hashtags and then cross post to Facebook and Twitter than it is to write out a blog post. Not to mention that it is usually safer, provided you avoid topics like politics, global warming, sexual assault, gun control, racism, feminism (or any ‘ism), equality, health care, etc. In spite of all those ticking time bombs and the other countless ways one can unintentionally offend others online, blogging still feels more…vulnerable.
And therein lies the root of my blog abandonment. Writing is one of the most vulnerable practices a person can undertake. I have said in the past that I would rather walk down Main Street naked than let the general public read some of pieces of my writing. What if I offend someone? What if I fail to live up to expectations – and expectations are many and high for folks in my line of work. What if something I say disappoints my parents or embarrasses my kids or angers my congregation? What if I sound stupid? What if by writing I prove one of my biggest fears to be true – that I have absolutely nothing to say that is worth saying?
Maybe I don’t have anything to say worth saying, but even I won’t know if that’s true until I write. Writing is how I put shape to my thoughts and feelings. It’s how I process experiences. It’s how I make sense of my world. When I don’t write, my brain goes stagnant. For whatever reason, it is far easier for me to tune in to other people’s feelings, needs, and wants than it is for me to acknowledge my own. (Is that an Enneagram 9 thing?) I am absolutely capable of gliding through life knowing more about the people around me than I do about myself. That can’t be okay, can it? What was God’s point in creating me in the first place if I don’t know my own heart or use my own voice? Surely God gave me those things for a reason!
My words may not carry profound insights that change the world, but they do carry my take on my experiences with my world. My words are my way of drawing attention to the things that have demanded mine. We know that words can be weapons, but they can also be tools. When I neglect words for too long, my very soul begins to wither. When I use words well, I can lift up all that is good and beautiful and grace-filled in our world, and maybe in turn lift up someone else.
Sometimes words are meant to be private. This year for Lent, I started the practice of writing in a journal every day. When Lent was over, I kept up the practice. For a little over seven months with the exception of two or three days, I wrote something every single day. I was surprised at first by the words that appeared on the page. Over time, however, they felt more and more like navel-gazing. I started missing more days. Those days turned into weeks. And now I’ve only written maybe 3 days over the past month. I got tired of me. I don’t give myself good feedback and I’m not my own best accountability partner.
Maybe words fare better when they are laid out in the open for others to see. I would love nothing more than to piece my words together into a novel, a memoir, and/or creative nonfiction. I have dozens of ideas for projects. I come up with new ones just about every week. Then I either forget them, or I start them with zeal only to be distracted by yet another project in a week or two. Projects that sound brilliant in my thoughts when I’m drifting off to sleep at night often turn out to be pretty ridiculous when examined in the light of day. Coming up with and starting new projects happens to be one of my favorite procrastination techniques. As long as I’m coming up with new ideas, I am not committed to finish the half-baked ones I already started.
So I will write. Right after I decide which project is best. And right after I take care of everyone else’s needs. And right after I get over my fear of sharing. And right after I get the perfect office space set up in my home, and after I learn the ins and outs of Scrivener, and after I’ve organized my thousands of photographs that I might use to illustrate some of what I write, and after I set up and design a brand new blog, preferably with the perfect domain name and and blog template. I will write right after I figure out the perfect schedule that allows time for in depth research and writing while working two jobs, raising my kid, taking care of my home, walking and feeding my dogs and cats, and being, for lack of a better descriptor, Wonder Woman.
Or I could just write something up right here on my old and neglected blog that hasn’t been touched for almost two years and has probably lost every follower I ever had. Maybe it could be like the old days on my first Blogger blog when I posted my very first entries and then was shocked to learn that a few other people actually read what I wrote. Whether people read or not can’t be my focus. Instead, I want to focus on saying what I have to say, not on writing what I think might please and attract the largest number of people. But I have to admit, feedback would be nice unless it comes from trolls whose only purpose in life is to reinforce one’s fear of being stupid, misunderstood, and targeted for ridicule.
My words. My thoughts. My explorations. My wonderings and wanderings. Sure, it would be nice to build a “platform” and create a “tribe” and write something that went “viral” for all the right reasons. But since my creativity doesn’t function well under pressure, I will try to forget those things and just meet myself on the screen for awhile. I actually am interested to learn what it is that I think. Don’t hold me to a schedule, though. After all, as much as I wish I could be, I’m really not Wonder Woman.